Science takes centre stage for University partners
(2 November 2007)
Durham and Newcastle universities are to work together to give the region’s science agenda a major boost.
A new partnership with the regional development agency One NorthEast will explore collaborative projects in specific areas of complementary expertise. The formation of the regional science partnership follows recent discussions between the newly-appointed vice chancellors of Durham and Newcastle universities. It signals a commitment from both to work together, and with One NorthEast, on specific, science-related areas to benefit the region as a whole. The two universities already enjoy several ongoing and effective partnerships where they have complementary expertise in such areas as stem cells (the North East Stem Cell Institute) and energy research. They recognise and aim to build on the work of regional partners to attract even more academic researchers and private sector partners and investors into the region. One NorthEast Chief Executive Alan Clarke said: “This partnership is a commitment by One NorthEast and the universities to explore and get the most out of the opportunities available within science related areas. “Science is one of the key areas of development in the region over the next 10 years, and this new partnership will act as platform to us ensuring the effective exploitation and commercialisation of intellectual capital for the benefit of the region. “It will work alongside the Newcastle Science City Partnership, with Durham plugging in to this focus on helping achieve the economic, social and physical regeneration of the city.” The new partnership featured strongly at the Universities of the North East conference at the Marriott Hotel today (Friday). At the same time, the collaboration will bring a clearer focus to Newcastle Science City on exclusively Newcastle-based activities and developments. Chris Higgins, Vice Chancellor of Durham University, said: “Durham and Newcastle universities have a number of complementary areas of scientific expertise, for example in energy and stem cells, and it would be a benefit to both universities, the region as a whole and the UK to work together and with One NorthEast to exploit this innovation for economic benefit.” The Regional Science Partnership will now hold detailed discussions to establish new areas of joint activity. They will agree the best mechanisms for ensuring that the region exploits its intellectual capital commercially. Chris Brink, Vice Chancellor of Newcastle University, said: “Newcastle University and Durham University already have a good track record of working together, and face similar issues regarding the commercialisation of science. I am therefore very pleased at us being able to take the next step by forming a trilateral partnership with One NorthEast to pursue a joint agenda for the benefit of the region.” Alan Clarke added: “This is a significant development for the region’s science agenda, and is one which I believe will put the region in a much stronger position going forward. Rt Hon Nick Brown MP, Minister for the North East, said: “I wish the partnership every success and congratulations to the members for its formation.”